By Eve Nevelos, Editorial Staff ‘24
This article is an update on “Spotted Lanternflies Spotted on School Grounds,” published on January 18, 2022 on the IH Drumbeats website.
Spotted Lanternflies are a beautiful black lycorma with bright red-orange and spotted wings. They span 2 inches, looking similar to moths with their patterned wings. Spotted Lanternflies form an alluring blur while fluttering around the autumn trees. Their prime season is fall, when most insects become adults. Spotted Lanternflies can be found all around New Jersey at the moment.
Despite their apparent beauty, these bugs are murderers. Penn State reports the Spotted Lanternfly as a major killer of the tree-of-heaven as well as many types of fruit, nut, sumac, and willow trees. The lanternflies will flock to trees to feed on sap, leaving behind honeydew, causing the tree mold and rot. The Palisades, most notably, are loaded with trees-of-heaven, making it prime for Spotted Lanternfly population growth.
The Spotted Lanternfly is indigenous to China, but has spread to Japan, South Korea, and the US. It was first found in Pennsylvania in September 2014, likely immigrating through food shipping containers. If the Spotted Lanternfly continues to grow exponentially, the US agricultural industry could reduce its yield, impacting the global supply chain.
The USDA APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) has updated their recommendations regarding Spotted Lanternflies. Instead of just scraping egg masses off of trees, it is advised to scrape the egg masses off, then deposit it into a bag or container, crush them, dispose of them in the trash, and report the sighting to badbug.nj.gov. Use a credit card, gift card, or ruler to scrape off the egg masses and always pack a plastic bag when hiking or going to a park.
To prevent Spotted Lanternflies from laying eggs, spray a 1:10 solution of dish soap in water on tree trunks. Neem oil can also be effective. Contact a professional arborist for pest control when signs of infestation are first seen (sooty mold).
The state and local community have been making greater efforts to spread information about the invasion. The Glen Rock green teams attended the Van Saun Park fall festival to give out resources, local libraries are posting information, and landscaping companies are offering Spotted Lanternfly preventive control options as well as pest removal. The UPSMR and IHHS science department has hosted the Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Spotted Lanternfly specialists for in-school field trips.
Mrs. Manzi, IHHS science department supervisor, reports, “Students in horticulture classes have joined the “Stomp It Out” campaign in New Jersey to search for egg cases, nymphs and adults on campus. Last year in class, we researched trapping strategies and students engineered some different designs. (hoping to do the same again this year in the spring.) As we work on our tree unit this marking period, we will be on the hunt for the Spotted Lantern Fly to join in on the “Stomp It Out” campaign.”
Students and teachers have reported dozens of egg case sightings. Watch out for the Spotted Lanternfly and don’t forget to stomp it out.